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State will seek death penalty for Bailey Boswell in slaying of Sydney Loofe

State will seek death penalty for Bailey Boswell in slaying of Sydney Loofe

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LINCOLN — State prosecutors intend to make Bailey Boswell the first woman to join Nebraska’s death row.

On Wednesday, prosecutors served notice that they will seek the death penalty for Boswell, who is accused in the slaying of Lincoln store clerk Sydney Loofe.

Boswell, a 24-year-old native of Leon, Iowa, would be the first woman on death row in the state if she is found guilty and sentenced to death, according to State Department of Corrections records.

Loofe disappeared in November after going on a date with Boswell that was arranged online.

The 24-year-old store clerk’s body was found three weeks later, dismembered and wrapped in black plastic bags, in a rural area in south-central Nebraska, about an hour’s drive west from where Boswell was then living in Wilber, Nebraska.

Authorities have already announced that they would seek the death penalty for Boswell’s 51-year-old boyfriend, Aubrey Trail.

[Read more: Aubrey Trail pleads not guilty in slaying of Sydney Loofe, ‘wants his day in court’]

Trail, in calls to news media, has claimed that he alone was responsible for Loofe’s death, saying that he accidentally choked her to death during a sexual fantasy and that Boswell was out of the room at the time.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office has alleged that two aggravating factors exist to justify the death penalty for Trail: that the slaying exhibited “exceptional depravity” and that Trail had a substantial history of violent crimes.

In the filing Wednesday, the AG’s office alleged one aggravating factor for Boswell: that the slaying was especially depraved.

Boswell’s court-appointed attorney, Todd Lancaster of the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy, declined to comment on Wednesday’s development.

According to the state corrections website, 74 people have been sentenced to death in Nebraska since 1903, and all were male.

Caril Ann Fugate, the 14-year-old girlfriend who accompanied Charles Starkweather during his murderous spree in 1958, stood trial for first-degree murder, which made her the youngest female in the nation to face the death penalty. But jurors instead sentenced her to life in prison, with one telling reporters that Fugate’s young age figured in that decision. She was paroled in 1976 and is reportedly living in Michigan.

Boswell, a former standout basketball player, crisscrossed the country with Trail as they bought and sold antiques, sometimes with bad checks, according to authorities. They liked staying at casinos and resorts, Trail has said.

Initially the pair denied involvement in Loofe’s death in video messages posted on social media. Later, though, Trail changed his story in calls to the news media. Boswell, according to authorities, has not talked with investigators since being arrested, with Trail, in Branson, Missouri.

Boswell is scheduled to next appear in the murder case in Saline County District Court on Monday. She and Trail are also scheduled to be sentenced on Friday in U.S. District Court in Lincoln for defrauding a Kansas couple out of nearly $400,000 in a scam to buy a rare coin overseas.

Attorneys representing Trail and Boswell on Tuesday evening were allowed to inspect property the pair left behind at the basement apartment in Wilber that they had rented. Ben Murray, Trail’s court-appointed attorney, said the items reminded him of things you’d find at a farm auction, such as antiques and old comic books.

He said the “shackles” listed as part of the property appeared to be antique and not “something that would be used to bind someone.


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Reporter - Regional/state issues

Paul covers state government and affiliated issues. He specializes in tax and transportation issues, following the governor and the state prison system. Follow him on Twitter @PaulHammelOWH. Phone: 402-473-9584.

Related to this story

In papers filed Thursday in Saline County District Court, attorneys with the Nebraska Attorney General's Office allege that two "aggravating circumstances" exist that warrant capital punishment — that Trail had a substantial history of "serious assaultive or terrorizing criminal activity" and that the slaying exhibited "exceptional depravity."

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